Area Man Claims Discrimination at Animal Shelter

Posted at: 10/10/2013 7:19 AM
By: Steph Crock

(ABC 6 News) -- A Hayfield man says he's upset with the Paws and Claws Humane Society in Rochester for denying him a dog, and says he's not the only one. Those at Paws and Claws say they're not discriminating.

"Our 14 year-old dog from the Austin Humane Society, we put him down and a few months later we decided to get another dog, so we thought we'd try Paws and Claws," said John Scott. He says some time ago he and his daughter went to go pick out a dog, but their application was immediately denied. "We were told there's no dogs available for us. We were shocked, my daughters were shocked, they wouldn't even let us look at a dog," said Scott.

"It could've been very well that we didn't have any dogs that meet his needs at the time, but we don't have any record of him being here," said Tanya Johnson with Paws and Claws Humane Society.

"My daughters and I were just like...we can't get a dog? What did we do wrong?" said Scott. He says his application did indicate he lived on a farm and he thinks that’s why, because he says he knows other farmers who've been denied dogs from there.

Those with Paws and Claws say he couldn't be denied solely for that. "We don't adopt cats to outdoor homes but dogs we do if they have an adequate shelter and we feel like it's the right fit for the dog," said Johnson. In fact, they say many of their dogs have gone to farms. “We just sent home a working dog to a farm last week and another dog to a farm that was an older dog, so we just look for the best interest of the animal," said Johnson.

Still Scott says he and his family were treated unfairly. "The Paws and Claws does good, we just want them to open their hearts a little more and not be so discriminative and say you can't have a dog, when I can go right to town and buy a dog if I would like," said Scott.

"We sent over 700 animals into forever homes, so we definitely do our best," said Johnson.

Scott says they did eventually get a dog that day, but from the Rochester Public Shelter. He was actually planning to protest at Paws and Claws annual auction event this Friday, but decided against it.